FROM: AUTHOR UNAVAILABLE; Joseph J. Levin Jr.; NHTSA
TO: Blue Bird Body Company
TITLE: FMVSR INTERPRETATION
TEXT: This responds to your April 4, 1978, letter asking several questions concerning the applicability of the Federal school bus safety standards to your vehicles.
First you ask whether a driver is considered a passenger for computation of designated seating positions and whether he is included in the computation of vehicle capacity. The term "passenger" is not used in the definition of designated seating position in Part 571.3 of our regulations. Designated seating position uses the term "person" in its definition, and a driver is considered a person for both the computation of designated seating positions and vehicle capacity.
On a related point concerning designated seating positions, you ask whether wheelchairs are considered designated seating positions or auxiliary seats. Wheelchair seating positions are not designated seating positions and, therefore, are not required to comply with standards that apply to designated seating positions. However, wheelchair positions are counted in determining vehicle seating capacity for the determination of the type classification of a vehicle.
In your second question, you ask what is the proper vehicle classification for a standard design school bus that carries fewer than 10 persons. This type of vehicle would be classified as a multipurpose passenger vehicle. As a multipurpose passenger vehicle, all fixed seating positions would be required to have seat belts. Wheelchair positions, since they are not designated seating positions, are not required to have seat belts.
In a question pertaining to the above-mentioned vehicle type, you ask whether it can be classified as a school bus if it complies with all of the school bus safety standards. The answer to your question is no. This vehicle would be a multipurpose passenger vehicle. As a multipurpose passenger vehicle it must be certified in compliance with all of the standards applicable to that vehicle type. You are not prohibited from marking the vehicle as a school bus, however, with school bus paint, lighting, and lettering. Such markings do not change the vehicle type from multipurpose passenger vehicle to school bus.
April 4, 1978
Joseph J. Levin Chief Counsel National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Dear Mr. Levin:
As a followup to a conversation by Bill Milby and Roger Tilton on March 29, 1978, I am writing to seek clarification of several terms and their application. The terms are as defined in Part 571-1 under Definitions.
1. With respect to "designated seating capacity" and "designated seating position":
a. Is the driver included as a passenger? Must he be counted for vehicle capacity?
b. Are wheelchairs considered auxiliary seats or must they be included as designated seating positions for certification?
2. What is the proper vehicle classification for a vehicle of "traditional" school bus styling with seating capacity for less than ten persons?
3. If proper classification for item 2 is "multipurpose passenger vehicle", must fixed seating positions and wheel chair positions have seat belts?
4. If the vehicle has seating capacity for less than 10 persons, may it be classified as a "school bus" provided it meets all FMVSS applicable to schoolbuses?
5. If the vehicle has seating capacity for less than 10 persons and is classified as a MPV, can it be painted yellow and black and carry children to and from school and be identified with the letters "SCHOOL BUS"?
I am looking forward to your interpretation.
R. L. DuMond Staff Engineer